Corps of Engineers, Marathon reach
agreement on pipeline project repairs
No permission to complete construction
By Carl Burnett Jr.
Gannett News Service
Contractors have started fixing the problems they have
left behind along the Ohio River Pipeline project while
Marathon officials are working on developing a comprehensive
plan to finish the pipeline.
Over the weekend, the U.S. Corps of Engineers out of
the Huntington, W.Va., district and the Marathon group
building the pipeline were able to reach an agreement
on the interim action plan that allows contractors to
fix the problems identified by Corps inspectors.
"We reviewed the interim action plan and approved
it," said Rebecca Rutherford, U.S. Corps of Engineers.
"We gave them (Ohio River Pipeline) the go-ahead
to work on the compliance issues."
Last Wednesday, the Corps suspended their permit -- halting
construction of the 149-mile pipeline going from Kenova,
W.Va., to Columbus. The suspension followed four citations
of non-compliance in the last six months.
Jennifer Robinson, spokeswoman for the pipeline, said
the company and the Corps had reached an agreement on
"We are commited to providing as much manpower and
attention needed to get the job done," Robinson said.
"We have 600 contractors back to work today."
In August 2002, the Ohio EPA and the U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers awarded permits to Marathon Ashland Petroleum
to construct the pipeline.
The 14-inch pipeline, called the Cardinal Products Pipeline,
is designed to carry as much as 80,000 barrels a day of
gasoline and diesel fuel products.
Approximately 29 miles of the pipeline is left to be
constructed, said Robinson on Monday. Last Friday the
company was estimating there were 40 miles left to complete
Robinson said that in the review process over the weekend,
a more accurate figure of the number of miles left to
complete the pipeline was obtained.
The interim plan allows Ohio River Pipeline to correct
existing problems by cleaning up and repairing the construction
right-of-way, said a news release from the Corps. They
are also authorized to pad and backfill exposed welded
pipe to prevent damage to exposed portions of the pipeline.
The pipeline runs across 363 rivers and streams, 55 wetlands,
two state nature preserves, two parks, three state forests,
a wildlife area and the southwestern part of Fairfield
Robinson said the company started in Columbus going south
and from the Ohio River going north and the 29 miles left
to be constructed are in Fairfield and Hocking counties.
The Corps did not give the pipeline company permission
to start new construction that would finish the line.
The permit suspension will be lifted when the pipeline
company submits an acceptable comprehensive plan to the
Corps that will ensure the past noncompliance issues do
not happen again, said Peggy Noel, spokeswoman for the
U.S. Corps' Huntington District.
The district will have inspectors out at the sites making
sure the contractors comply with the new interim plan.
"We are in daily contact with them," said Rutherford.
Robinson said the company has formed a joint committee
with contractors and company officials to oversee the
process of correcting the problems cited by the Corps
and in the final stages of the construction.
"We are committed to completing this pipeline,"
Robinson said. "We have doubled the number of employees
and contractors dedicated to compliance issues. We will
have 200 employees and contractors whose sole job is making
sure we are in compliance."